MORE THAN 60,000 people have seen the meeting between Keighley Cougars legend Phil Stephenson and England rugby league player Sam Burgess.

A video of the emotional meeting in Australia – where Sam plays for a Sydney team – received 20,000 views in the first hour after it was posted on Twitter.

Phil and Sam are both ambassadors for the fight against motor neurone disease – Phil is fighting the condition and Sam’s father died from it.

Rugby League bosses organised the meeting secretly after learning that Phil and his family were travelling to Australia to watch the Rugby World Cup.

Sam plays for both the England team – currently taking part in the Rugby World Cup in Australia – and the Sydney Rabbitohs team.

Phil’s wife Karen, now back in the UK, this week paid tribute to the men who worked behind the scenes to arrange the visit, and the hundreds of well-wishers.

The meeting was set up by former Keighley Cougars coach Gary Moorby with former Leeds player Colin Maskell, rugby official Alex Simmons, and Rugby Football League communications manager Gary Miller.

Karen said: “The response we have had to the film has been overwhelming, with messages of support from all over the world.”

Karen and Phil had travelled to Australia with their children Jamie, Lauren, Jack, as well as Phil’s brother Andy and his family, both to see the country and watch England play Australia and Lebanon.

Karen said: “Phil and Jack are huge Sydney Rabbitohs fans so getting to meet Sam and his brother Tom Burgess was a dream come true for them.

“It was a huge surprise for Phil who didn't know anything until we arrived at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney to watch the English team train.

“Sam is a huge ambassador for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. He spent so much time talking to us about Phil’s MND, his diagnosis, plans we had, our fundraising efforts, and his own dad who suffered from MND.”

Sam signed Phil’s England shirt and Jack’s Rabbitohs shirt, and offered to give his shirt from the England v Sydney game to be auctioned in aid of Phil and Karen’s fundraising efforts for the MND Association.

Karen said: “This was such a wonderful gesture which highlights the true gentleman. Sam is. The time we spent with Sam and the England team was an experience we will cherish.

“Sam is a great ambassador for spreading awareness of MND, you can tell it means so much to him and is close to his heart.”